I was sitting at a red light in the intersection of Audubon Tollway and Drive Crazy Road yesterday when I saw the most delicate of yellow butterflies ping-ponging off the tufts of scalding pollution. I thought to myself, "Well, Forrest (I named him Forrest...don't judge), this does not look too good for you." Then I wondered how a butterfly comes to find its way into concrete and carbon monoxide hell. I had always been under the assumption that butterflies couldn't live in an area where there is pollution.
Not knowing where I had heard that little tidbit of information, I went in search (I SAID, "Don't judge!" I am a geek, always in search of learning more). The Hamilton County Department of Environment Services in Ohio has a kids page with a boat load of intel on Forrest and his peeps. HCDE wrote, "Butterflies are one of the most sensitive barometers of the entire environment! Their presence around our homes and gardens indicates a vital, healthy ecosystem; their absence indicates a serious decline in that ecosystem's overall health."
I found a ton of fun facts at thebutterflysite.com as well. Forrest's top speed is 12 miles per hour (moths are twice as fast at 25 mph), and the little critters cannot fly if their body temp is below 86 degrees F. The most interesting fact I thought was, "Some moths never eat anything as adults because they don't have mouths. They must live on the energy they stored as caterpillars." I don't even want to imagine a life where I spend my teens and adult years living off the cocoa pebbles and mac and cheese I consumed as a wee one. Poor Forrest. To read more about stories I know about butterflies, read this.